FOMC Decision Looms in Coming Week

The coming week brings plenty of housing data, but the market's focus will be on the FOMC meeting Tuesday.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- All eyes will be on the

Federal Open Market Committee

in the coming week as it meets to discuss economic conditions ahead of its rate decision on Tuesday.

Although the Fed has recently signaled its willingness to take action to support the economic recovery, Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at Channel Capital Research, says the timing of the statement and relatively unchanged economic conditions since the committee's August meeting will likely result in a humdrum FOMC statement.

"I think it will be more of the same since the economy hasn't weakened substantially and there isn't enough consensus to enact additional quantitative easing measures," Roberts said.

He says that the most the committee or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might do would be to lay out additional steps that could be taken if the recovery shows further signs of distress.

"This is the last meeting before

midterm elections, and Bernanke won't want to do anything that could roil the market or result in him being accused of influencing the election," Roberts said.

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Before the market can review the FOMC statement on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. ET, it will have to sift through a generous helping of housing data, beginning with the National Association of Home Builders's September housing market index on Monday. The survey, which reflects the general health of the housing market, is expected to show a reading of 14 in September, up from the prior month's level of 13, according to Briefing.com.

Tuesday morning brings the Commerce Department's report on August housing starts and building permits. Market watchers anticipate housing starts to come in at an annual rate of 550,000, compared with the 546,000 pace in July, while building permits are slated to weaken slightly month over month, according to Briefing.com.

Thursday's initial weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department will garner its usual share of market attention since investors remain very concerned about how the still-weak job market will impact the larger economy. According to Briefing.com, economists are looking for the level of first-time filers of unemployment benefits to come in at 450,000, the same level as the prior week.

Existing-home sales for August and the leading indicators report for last month are also due out early in Thursday's session.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, expects the leading indicators report and the FOMC statement to be the two most important factors for the market next week.

The Conference Board's composite index is expected to increase 0.1% in August after similar growth in July, and existing-home sales are projected to rise to 4.04 million in August, from 3.83 million previously.

The week closes with August durable goods orders and new-home sales on Friday. Economists are anticipating a 1.3% decline in durable goods, after July's 0.4% uptick although orders excluding transportation are slated to increase 0.7% after slipping 3.7% in July, according to Briefing.com.

Meanwhile, new-home sales are set to hit a 290,000 annual rate, up from July's 276,000 pace.

Earnings reports may also sway markets next week as they did on Friday, said Channel Capital's Roberts, pointing to the impact of better-than-expected earnings from

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

and

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

late this week.

Results are expected from homebuilders

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

and

KB Home

(KBH) - Get Report

, which bookend the week, along with tech names like

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

and

Progress Software

(PRGS) - Get Report

after Tuesday's closing bell.

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

and

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

are scheduled to report on Thursday, while reports from food giants

ConAgra

(CAG) - Get Report

and

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

are expected earlier in the week.

"Overall, I think the market is doing pretty good," said Cardillo of Avalon Partners. "It's looking pretty strong and I think it's going to surprise on the upside in the coming week."

Channel Capital's Roberts, however, doesn't think the market will be able to break out of its trading range until after investors get results from the midterm elections.

--Written by Melinda Peer in New York

.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.